One of the most amazing things about Italian food is the number of different types of pasta used in their dishes. At Asiago’s Restaurant and Wine Bar in Boise, we love to make Italian food from scratch so that our customers can truly enjoy the best Italian cuisine. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common types of pasta and the best ways to use them.

At Asiago’s, we’ve used only the freshest ingredients in our restaurant for more than 20 years. Take a break from making dinner tonight, and contact our Italian restaurant to reserve your table for dinner.

1. Angel Hair

Angel hair gets its name due to its very fine and delicate texture when cooked. In fact, it is the thinnest type of pasta, which make it good for dishes that need to be cooked quickly. While it pairs nicely with a light tomato sauce, you could also try a truly simple meal of cooked angel hair pasta with butter and oil.

2. Elbow Macaroni

You may recognize elbow macaroni from the multitude of children’s crafts your children brought home from school. As the name implies, this pasta is a short, C-shaped tube that resembles the crook of an elbow, which is great for using in baked dishes or salads.

3. Farfalle (bow tie)

One look at this pasta and you’ll agree that it is aptly named. While it definitely looks like a bow tie, the name actually means “butterflies” in Italian. This type of pasta is ideal for tossing with a nice tomato sauce or using in a salad.

4. Fettuccine

Fettuccine is similar to spaghetti in terms of length, but it is more flat and great for tossing with meat sauces. Translated from Italian, its name means “little ribbons.”

5. Fusilli and Rotini

Oftentimes, these names are used interchangeably for the same type of pasta. Just to clarify, Fusilli means “little spindles” and Rotini means “twists” or “spirals.” Due to its thicker construction, this pasta does very well in both baked dishes and salads.

6. Jumbo Shells

Jumbo shells look exactly as their name suggests, and they are frequently stuffed with meat and cheese due to their large cavity.

7. Linguine

Linguine is similar to both spaghetti and fettuccine. Linguine is long like spaghetti, flat like fettuccine, and only ⅛ inch wide. Its name means “little tongues.” This pasta is best when tossed with a red, white, or olive oil sauce.

8. Orecchiette

The name literally means “little ears.” Orecchiette are often used in dishes that feature heavier ingredients such as meat and cream since their concave shape allows them to hold sauces.

9. Orzo

This pasta is made in the shape of rice or barley, which is where its name comes from. Due to its smaller size, it is best used in soups and salads.

10. Ravioli

Ravioli is the pasta equivalent of a pillow and can be filled with meat, cheese, veggies, or even seafood. No matter what type of filling you choose, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.

11. Penne

Penne pasta are small tubes that are about two to four inches in length and are cut diagonally on the end. The name means “quills” or “feathers,” and we think they’re great with a chunky tomato and meat sauce.

There are many more types of pasta than those included in our list today. We hope that our brief descriptions have given you some inspiration for your next Italian dish. If you feel like enjoying a delicious homemade pasta meal tonight, but don’t want to cook, then call Asiago’s Restaurant and Wine Bar in Boise to reserve your table.